2010 World Indoor Champs, Day 2: Mekonnen Defends 1,500m title!, by Larry Eder

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Deresse Mekonnen, 2010 World Indoor Champs, Doha, Qatar, photo by PhotoRun.net.

This was one of the best championship races that I have ever seen! The race was in doubt until the last fifty meters, when Deresse Mekonnen, willed on by his countrymen, charged to victory, defending his title from Valencia, Spain!

Men's 1,500 meters

This race had all of the good stuff of a championship: great field, great tactics, blinding finish and positions decided in the last meters!

Garrett Heath of the U.S. lead the 200 meter sin 31.75. Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco took the field through the 400 meters in 63:98. Haron Keitany of Kenya took the field through 600 meters in 1:34.24 and the 800 meters in 2:04.95. Deresse Mekonnen, the defending champion, took the field through the 1,000 meters in 2:33.35 and teh 1,200 meters in 3:01.18.

Still the field was all there! Amine Laalou of Morocco went to the lead, hitting 1,400 meters in 3:28.32. Iguider, his countryman, was on his shoulder as they entered the final straight, with Haron Keitany straining and Mekonnen Gebremedhin in tow.

Deresse Mekonnen's position looked tough, until, with 50 meters go, willed on by the Ethiopian fans, Mekonnen went outside and charged by Iguider and Laalou, who collided. Iguider, who, just seconds before, looked like the winner, was chasing Deresse Mekonnen to the finish, as Mekonnen defended in 3:41.86!

Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco held on for second, running 3:41.96. Haron Keitany of Kenya took the bronze in 3:42.32, over Mekonnen Gebremedhin, who took fourth in 3:42.42! Amine Laalou of Morocco finished fifth in 3:42.42.

Kudos to U.S. runner Garrett Heath, a Stanford grad, who stayed close the whole race, and finished seventh in 3:43.81 (he scored a pb of 3:39.25 in the semi-finals).

Hats off to Deresse Mekonnen, who overcame a roller derby style race, to defend his title and thrill the crowd at the Aspire Stadium.

For more on the sport, please click on www.runningnetwork.com

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